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Rumsfeld resigning Bush taps Bob Gates, former CIA director

Posted: November 8, 2006

© 2006

One day after Democrats took over the House and possibly the Senate, President Bush announced Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will step down.

"Don Rumsfeld is a patriot who has served our country with honor and distinction," Bush told reporters at a White House press conference.

The president said he has nominated former CIA chief Robert Gates to replace Rumsfeld, 74, who had endured heavy criticism from Democrats during his six years in office and recently from some Republicans who want to shake up the administration's Iraq policy.

Bush said he had been talking with Rumsfeld over time about the need for "fresh eyes" on the situation in Iraq.

The change in leadership, the president insisted, was not a direct result of the outcome of yesterday's elections.

"Win or lose, Bob Gates was going to become the nominee," he said.

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Bush said he met with Rumsfeld yesterday, and they agreed "it was appropriate that I accept his resignation."

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who is in line to become speaker of the House, responded to the announcement.

"I welcome this change," she said. "I think it will give a fresh start to finding a solution to Iraq rather than 'staying the course.'"

Bush said he recognized "that many Americans voted last night to register their displeasure with the lack of progress being made" in Iraq.

"Yet I also believe most Americans - and leaders here in Washington from both political parties - understand we cannot accept defeat."

Robert Gates

Gates, a close friend of the Bush family, is the president of Texas A&M University.

He served as CIA director for Bush's father from 1991 until 1993. He first joined the CIA in 1966 and served under six presidents.

The nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.

Rumsfeld and Gates appeared with Bush later at the White House where the president thanked Rumsfeld for his service and praised Gates.

"The secretary of defense must be a man of vision who can see threats still over the horizon and prepare our nation to meet them. Bob Gates is the right man to meet both of these critical challenges," Bush said.

Rumsfeld, who spoke briefly, described the Iraq conflict as a "little understood, unfamiliar war" that is "complex for people to comprehend."

As WorldNetDaily reported, many political leaders and activists placed significance in an editorial appearing in the Army Times, the Navy Times, the Marine Times and the Air Force Times that called for Rumsfeld's resignation.

But while many assume the publications are official or semi-official periodicals of the military branches, they are actually under the same ownership as USA Today and under the management of an editor who has had his share of run-ins with the U.S. military in the past.